CaRinA | Carbon fiber recycled materials for industrial applications

Recycling of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP)

With the development of production methods suitable for series production, the use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) has increased significantly in recent years. As a lightweight construction material with outstanding specific stiffness and strength, the importance of this material will continue to increase in the future, especially in the automotive sector. With the increased use of CFRP in series production applications, the recycling of waste is also gaining in importance. Not only the future sharp increase in the amount of waste generated by components at the end of their duration of use, but also the quantities currently generated as production waste are of importance.

Plastic waste must be recycled in the EU and may not be deposited in landfills. The energy recovery of CFRP by incineration is technically difficult and uneconomical in existing plants.

A higher-value recovery of CFRP waste and offcuts is absolutely necessary and advisable due to the potential of carbon fibers and the high energy input for the production of the fibers. A comprehensive, high-quality recycling of CFRP will improve the overall energy and economic balance of the carbon fiber. The lack of continuity in the CFRP recycling chain currently represents a major obstacle to the usability of the lightweight construction material CFRP and ultimately to the achievement of climate targets.

Carding machine of the Institut für Textiltechnik Augsburg (ITA) for the production of nonwovens from recycled carbon fibers
© ITA
Carding machine of the Institut für Textiltechnik Augsburg (ITA) for the production of nonwovens from recycled carbon fibers
Pilot plant (picture detail - hot press) of the IGCV for processing nonwovens made of recycled carbon fibers
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Pilot plant (picture detail - hot press) of the IGCV for processing nonwovens made of recycled carbon fibers
Exemplary demonstrator made of recycled carbon fibers (further components in planning)
© Fraunhofer IGCV
Exemplary demonstrator made of recycled carbon fibers (further components in planning)

Performance range for rCF nonwovens

Against this background, it is the aim of the project CaRinA to meet the strong demand of the industry for a clear and easily accessible range of services for rCF nonwovens. Taking into account all industry-relevant parameters, the nonwovens are to be assigned a comprehensive property profile for clear traceability. This will create the required comparability both among each other and in competition with other material classes and, for the first time, create a data model that covers the entire process chain of manufacturing rCF products.

In summary, the following project objectives can be identified:

  • Investigation and improvement of web formation with carbon fiber
  • Development and improvement of the impregnation of rCF nonwovens with thermoplastic matrices
  • Generation of material cards of commercially available nonwovens and rCFK from rCF nonwoven felts with different thermoplastics and duromers which are being developed
  • Provision of rCF materials as common materials in software tools for material selection in product design for engineers, developers and designers

More interesting reference projects on this topic:

 

Izi-Direct

Innovative non-destructive method for in-line characterization and quality assurance of discontinuous recycled carbon fiber semi-finished products.

 

WiPull

Standardization of the single fiber pull-out test to measure fiber-matrix adhesion.

Cooperation with Fraunhofer IGCV

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Industry solutions

The key sectors of Fraunhofer IGCV:

  • Mechanical and plant engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive and commercial vehicles

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